ANGER MANAGEMENT – 2 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
This morning we are in part 2 of our miniseries from the Sermon on the Mount called “ANGER MANAGEMENT.”
Matthew 5 21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Overall Background: Last weekend we set the foundation for understanding anger. Anger, we learned, is a divine emotion – When you study the Bible, it doesn’t take long to see that God gets angry more than anyone else. We also learned that anger is a derived emotion – When God’s Holiness and God’s Love meet, God’s Anger follows. It does 2 things: First, it sets out to destroy sin; and second, it brings us in line with His righteousness. We see that throughout the Old Testament. But God also knew that we are prone to sin and we cannot stand against His anger. Psalm 103:14 “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Hence, since the beginning of time God initiated a plan to pour His anger against sin on His own Son. Being fully God and without sin, only Jesus could take God’s wrath upon Himself. Isaiah 53 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 …And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. What was the result? Romans 5:9 “…having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Isn’t that amazing how God’s wrath poured upon Jesus has saved us from the terrible judgment to come?!! But it doesn’t end there. All that so far is negative. God’s anger also does something very positive for us – 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” God’s anger is not just some negative destructive force. When the dust settles from His wrath, there is something wonderful waiting for us. We now have the nature of Christ. Question: Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior? If not, you’re still under God’s wrath. John 3:16 says it clearly.
Now for our message today – We are made in the image of God and just like Him we’ve been given certain emotions like love, joy, confidence, satisfaction, and even anger. Just like God, anger is given to deal with sin and bring God’s righteousness into this world. Unfortunately, just like other emotions, we have abused and misused it no end.
Question: How are you using anger in your life? Are you known as an angry person? Are you known as hot-tempered? Do you agree that you have a short fuse?
This morning we will understand the difference between right and wrong use of anger:
21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ Jesus begins by quoting the sixth of the Ten Commandments. But then He raises the bar of righteousness in the next verse – 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause.”
Background: Some of your translations might omit the phrase “without a cause.” Many Bibles have a little footnote or a comment in the margin that goes something like this – “‘without a cause’ does not exist in the earliest Greek manuscripts.” I’ve studied this subject for the past 17 years and it’s the focus of my PhD work. This is what I’ve found – even though a couple of early manuscripts do not have this word, it is found overwhelmingly in all the remaining manuscripts, almost all the early versions, and almost all the early church fathers/pastors preached on it. Unlike our English translation – “without a cause” = three words, the Greek is just one word – “ekei.” It’s very possible that it was accidentally omitted.
But even if that’s not the case, we know that all anger is not sin – Psalm 4:4 “Be angry, and do not sin.” And Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath…” Jesus Himself got angry several times so it doesn’t make sense for Him to denounce anger completely.
So what is Anger with a Cause? The Bible gives us several illustrations of this anger. There is Anger With a Cause–
- When people harden their hearts – You remember the account in Exodus where Pharaoh kept hardening his heart and refusing to let God’s people go. God told Moses that He was about to send the ultimate plague and the first born of man and beast will die. So Moses went before Pharaoh and begged him to let the Hebrews go. But as before his heart was hardened. So listen to Exodus 11:8 “Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.” Why was Moses so angry? Because Pharaoh was willing to destroy his own people, even his own firstborn son, for his foolish pride.
Here’s the point – it should anger us when people harden their hearts towards God. Please don’t misunderstand – I’m not suggesting that we should call people names and hurt them. That would be sin. This kind of anger seeks to prove God in the face of hardened hearts. Jesus demonstrated this in Mark 3:5 “And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”
- When leaders compromise the Gospel – God had given specific commands on how to perform the various sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament. The priests had to eat the goat of the sin offering in the holy place. It was not just to burn on the altar. Why? Because all these offerings and sacrifices pointed to the Lamb of God. You cannot pick and choose Jesus. But listen to Leviticus 10 16 Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was—burned up. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?
Here’s the point – it should anger us when people compromise the gospel. When the simple gospel of trusting in the blood of Christ is compromised, we need to speak up. Paul talked about this to the Galatian church. They were being influenced by Judaizers who were compelling them to be circumcised. Listen to Paul in Galatians 2 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed…” What did Peter do that was so wrong? 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?…16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ… We don’t have to be hateful or mean-spirited but when the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is compromised, we are obligated to get angry and confront and clarify. Unfortunately, we fuss about side issues.
- When people act like they know better than God – You remember when God told the Israelites to only gather the Manna for the day but the people disobeyed God and decided to store some. God wanted them to trust Him for their daily bread but they disobeyed. So listen to Exodus 16:20 “…But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Why was Moses angry with them? Because they thought they did not trust God and wanted to do things their way.
Here’s the point – it should anger us when people think they know better than God. We find a similar example in Matthew 16 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” I’m not suggesting we call each other the Devil but it should anger us when people act like they know better than God.
- When we see the innocent being mistreated – You remember the account when Saul became jealous of David and tried every opportunity to have him killed. Saul’s own son Jonathan helped David escape and even confronted his father for his behavior. One day there was a heated argument between the two and Saul called him all kinds of names and told him to go find David so he could kill him but Jonathan refused. Listen to 1 Samuel 20 32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be killed? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David. 34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.
Here’s the point – It should anger us when we see the innocent being mistreated, no matter who or where they are. One reason Jesus cleansed the temple in anger is because the innocent multitude couldn’t even get to the temple to worship God in peace.
- When Christians give a bad testimony – In the book of Nehemiah we read how some Jewish people were taking advantage of each other to the point that they were even buying each other’s sons and daughters as slaves. Nehemiah 5 6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them. 8 And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?” Then they were silenced and found nothing to say.
Here’s the point – it should anger us when Christians give a bad testimony. We are a family redeemed by the blood of Christ. We should speak up when we hear someone destroying the family name. Paul got angry with the Corinthians because they were tolerating open sin and destroying their testimony. I Corinthians 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! Paul is angry because in technicality they were destroying their testimony.
We can go on and on with more examples, here’s the point – There is a place for righteous anger or right use of anger. It motivates us to step out of our comfort zones and reach the world, to go where no one wants to go, to speak for those who do not have a voice, to stand firm for the gospel (by grace through faith in Jesus alone), and to live above approach. What gets you angry? Lack of sleep, selfishness, someone did not give you what you hoped, someone gave you what you did not want.
If you ask the Holy Spirit, He will help you live a life that is pleasing to God. He will enable you to be moved by the things that move God. He will give you patience for those things that do not matter. He will change your perspective on life.
Are you saved? That’s where it begins